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your standard, everyday torture chamber.

17 Jul

Some people call said torture chamber a “fitting room,” but I’d like to think that Merriam-Webster will soon come to the light and make the appropriate changes to their lexicon.

Because it is torture chamber, my friends. What else do you call a tiny room where every nook, cranny, and crevice is filled with the kind of unremitting fluoroscent lighting that showcases every inch of your now monstrous body, which seemed to morph into Jabba the Hutt territory during your journey from the clothes rack to the “fitting room”? What else do you call a room where none of the locks ever work, thereby increasing the potential that while you’re bent over trying to pull those jeans up your monstrous body, a mother and her child will walk by and see the horror of it all? What do you call a place where the person who inhabited it before you seemed to believe they were 90s-era Johnny Depp and therefore had the right to trash the place like a hotel room?

Say it with me, yes, yes: torture chamber.

Needless to say, I mostly avoid trying on clothes when I buy them. What? It’s true. To keep from bringing everything back because of fit or color or whatever, I just take forever in the store shop very judiciously. Which means I usually buy a size up. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. The typical result with buying a size up is that I end up looking like a low-rent gypsy trying to be Stevie Nicks. So the point of this whole diatribe: despite the fact that going to the torture chamber is pretty much walking towards your own doom, I’ve decided to–gulp–try clothes on before I leave the store. Why?

1. It makes sense.

2. The buying and returning game has gotten fairly old, believe it or not.

So, yeah, I’ve been frequenting the torture chamber. It’s not half bad. Well, not really, but let’s not rehash the horrors, shall we? And to prove that I’ve been changing my ways lately (I’m not all talk, you know), here you go:

Bought this sassy dress, by the way.

Bought this sassy dress, by the way.

Bought this pretty blouse, too.

Bought this pretty blouse, too.

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what’s the buzz, tell me what’s a-happenin’…

3 May

Have I mentioned that I stalk all things musical theatre? The title is a reference to one of my favorite jams from Jesus Christ Superstar. Anyway, Happy Friday to you, and you, and you. Following is the buzz on yours truly, what’s been happenin’ (and very entertainment-y, as you’ll see):

  • NaPoWriMo was a complete success. Woo hoo! Thanks to all who read my work, poemadaycommented, followed this blog, etc., in the month of April. I’m even more in love with poetry, if that’s humanly possible, and we’re registered at the local library if you want to get us anything. (Way to wrangle a metaphor, no?) In general, I learned that I really can write every day, if I put my mind to it. I suppose all that raucous laughter at a fellow writer who once told me he gets up at 5am every morning to write was unwarranted, huh? Sorry.
  • The summer movie season is starting and I’m trying not to drool with excitement. Beginning with this film, starring an actor that I’ve adored since antiquity (already bought my ticket for tomorrow, yeah!), I intend on fully taking advantage of this time of year. After IM3, I wait with bated breath for The Great Gatsby, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, etc., etc. Reviews will be provided, naturally. Did you know about my lifelong obsession fascination with summermoviesall things comic book, sci-fi, and general popcorn fun? Hey, I may prefer a literary adaptation or a British accent in film, but I still gets my fun on. But we never talk about that stuff on here because, well, I’d rather talk about other things. But it’s Friday, so have at it, Kitten Heel Marvel.
  • Anyone heard of Netflix? When I’m not working, or taking care of life, or eating, or sleeping, or stalking summer movies or musical theatre or Robert Downey, Jr., I’m glued to the old iPad, watching everything from Bollywood films to Murder, She Wrote as they stream on Netflix. Sigh. I would complain about the utter waste of time, but…I love it.

This last thing going on in my life is a bit beyond bullets and a quick summary. You remember this. Well, things got kind of interesting. As in the quiet, almost nonchalant way I was approaching my feelings about this individual didn’t necessarily change, but I was talking about him a lot. A lot. Talking about him turned into wondering whether he shared my feelings, which turned into he obviously shared my feelings, based on his peripheral staring of me, which turned into a much-needed intervention from my concerned best friend after listening to my ramblings about this guy. I lost my marbles a bit. Side-eyed staring (which seriously happened like two times) and other non-events are not indicators of mutual interest. In the end, I’m just grateful for the tough love dispensed by my bestie. Said tough love even inspired me to write an essay, which I submitted here for consideration. I’ll provide updates should it be published. Anyway, crushes are ok, but I want more and will hold out for just that.

Onwards, and bon weekend!

meet me at the crossroads of ordinary and extraordinary.

2 Aug

What do you write about?

It’s the standard question I get when people find out I’m a writer. I typically respond that I write about “relationships,” which is largely true. My fascination with how people truly relate to one another–mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, siblings, friends–and the psychology of it all has only grown with time and understanding. So, yeah, that’s me in the corner, watching, listening, analyzing. (Am I a voyeur? Absolutely. People, strangers, are infinitely inspiring and intriguing. And really, once we step outside our homes, everything you and I do is subject to observation. Sorry if you wanted that loud argument with your wife in the middle of a public aisle in the grocery store to be private.) In fact, before I went with the Plan A of majoring in English in college, I actually wanted to be a Psychology major, with the hope of someday becoming a therapist. Yes. It’s true. I even wanted to start my own practice, the ultimate chance to fulfill my people fascination with the belief that I could also help people sort out their lives. Anyway, when I told my beloved Dad heard that, he nearly fell out of his chair and forbade it immediately. Perhaps he had visions of me psychoanalyzing he and my mother’s disciplining methods? (“How do you really feel about grounding me?”)

I digress. But you’re used to that, aren’t you? Re-reading some of my older work this past week, I realized that the same theme revealed itself over and over again: ordinary people meeting with extraordinary events. It’s a bit cliched, but I was writing stories about run-of-the-mill people reacting to hardly run-of-the-mill situations. Even a few doses of whimsy here and there. Back then, I prided myself on coming up with ideas and plots that I knew were solely from the trenches of my imagination. And they were always stories that I, from the vantagepoint of just a reader, enjoyed reading.

What’s changed with my newer work, you ask, because you know that’s where I’m going? Several years ago, I felt that my writing needed to become “real”. Relatable. I wanted my readers to think while reading, “I get this. I’ve experienced this.” However, in comparing the old with the new, I noticed a few things. I’ve stripped the extraordinary. The new ones are…they just are. But I write fiction, folks! Yes, I write about relationships. Yes, I include psychobabble here and there. But I also write fiction. And fiction may be based in reality, experiences, relationships, and psychology, but at its core, it’s “something invented by the imagination or feigned.”   I want to go back to that! So it’s time to stop sacrificing the shiniest, giddiest parts of my imagination for relatibility. Instead, I’m going to experiment with blending the two. Truthfully, I’ve already started. I’ve restarted some of my older, unfinished works, which number in the hundreds, and we’re in the process of serious blending. So…

What do you write about?

The ordinary and the extraordinary.

And in the end:

fumbling towards style.

25 Jan

I’ve gone from one style extreme to the next: fashion forward toddler (courtesy of The Mother); teenager clad in black all the time; the unfortunate college years, where I think it was telling that my psychology professor noticed my wearing-the-same-jacket-all-the-time habits; the weird 20s, when I volleyed between frumpiness and…frumpiness; and now the early 30s, where, up until recently, I was just kind of functional.

Functional happens. In the process of discovering who we are as indivduals, sometimes we forget that a large part of that involves how we look on the outside. It’s true, and it’s life. Along with the emotional you, there is the physical you. Bouncing around from one style extreme to the next didn’t really give me an opportunity to find a happy medium for the physical me, being that I spent a large part of my formative years despising my physical appearance. Another needless to say truth: self-image/body acceptance affects what you wear and how you want to present yourself. (These days, I wholly accept how wonderfully made and gorgeous I am. It’s taken about, oh, 14 years or so to come to this? But everything in life requires journeying, and this was one of many for me.) As adults and as women, the paying bills/working/my car needs another oil change?/other responsibilities can sometimes blanket everything else. For me, I wasn’t taking the time out to identify my wardrobe, my style. I was wearing whatever I believed fit and/or camouflaged me or whatever was affordable, which meant plenty of sad, loose jeans and loads of polyester. All of this came to a head one afternoon when, as I gazed at myself in the mirror, I realized that I resembled a homeless woman. 

Identifying the Issue(s)

I’ve always hated shopping. I don’t know what matches. I’ve always hated trying on clothes. I assigned these things as completely natural, but when you don’t like your body, the desire to dress it up is a bit like desiring to go to the dentist, right? There is no such desire. This was the main issue. The other things were byproducts of that.

Coming to Terms with the Issue(s) (Reluctantly)

It was time to stop. Stop ignoring the real issue here, that I needed to work on 1) admitting that I had positives to accentuate; 2) wanting to accentuate them.

Long Story Short

Once I laid claim to the main issue and chose to fight it and fix it, a few other things needed to be done. For one thing, color. Black and brown had become my staples for far too long. Another thing, fit. I had to recognize that loose is not really a good thing. Yeah, a few pounds came off and that was exciting, but I’m not Stevie Nicks. She can do the flowy thing. My version of flowy just looked tenty and, well, homeless. The next: I needed to choose a style. There are a zillion style archetypes out there. Did I want to be earthy? Preppy? Sporty? (Haha) Glam? Retro? 

The Present 

Simply, modern and chic is for me. Less Bea Arthur, more me. I love clean and chicness and up-to-date, and that’s the style I want to have. So far, so good. Ultimately, dressing for me, accentuating those nice positives—can’t go wrong, can you?

Oh, and to deal with generally being challenged when it comes to all things shopping, I just take outfit ideas from magazines, or gaze at mannequins like a crazy person in the store. (No, they don’t come alive.) I also try things on, despite my belief that something is wrong with those mirrors in there; I worry less about matching and more about the right look and accessorizing well. So still fumbling towards style, yes, but with far more confidence and optimism than ever before. This is a good thing.

READERS: What’s your style? How did you find it?

the past is prologue?

21 Jan

Four years ago, on January 21, 2008, this was what I posted. Apparently, I was concerned with horrors unleashed on my DMV photo, and sibling-related vengeance. So…not much has changed, huh?

Reflections of the Way I…Used to Be?

So I recently renewed my driver’s license online. It was painless, quick and easy (unlike the last time, when I was inexplicably forced to take a faulty test and almost manifested my rage at the guy taking my picture. One should never desire to kick someone in the knee, not ever), and I was slated to receive the new license about five days later.

I received the license this past Friday. A few things:

  1. I looked like a pig. An actual pig. AN ACTUAL PIG.
  2. Oddly enough, it wasn’t the photo from the license I had just renewed, which I assumed it would be. It was some other weird looking photo, where my posture was terrible and I had this strange, almost smug smirk on my face. Smug? I never look smug! (Well, I don’t try to).
  3. It appeared as if my picture had been age-progressed. Seriously. Rather than feature what I currently look like, the picture seemed to guess what I’ll look like 5 years from now, when the license expires.

My younger brother seemed to get a kick out of #3. “You’ve been age-progressed! Ha ha!” That particular revenge will be sweet. Anyway…

I placed the license in my wallet with a resolute sigh, pleased that, at least, a trip to the horrid DMV had been avoided. These days, even thinking about kicking someone may land me in some jail somewhere. Times have changed.

The weekend was interesting. Packed with activity and pretty fast. Wasn’t it just last Friday?

Delusion of Grandeur: 0 / Reasonable Goal: 1

9 Aug

I will go to bed, at the latest, by 9:30pm. I will wake up at 5am, get in the car, and drive to the gym. I will work out. I will do this four mornings out of the week.

It is a delusion of grandeur for many reasons. For one thing, my poor brain/body does not recognize “9:30pm” as a viable time of day. My poor brain/body recognizes 8am (best time ever to wake up, really), 5pm (quitting time) and 12am (when I begin to watch my nightly episodes of The Golden Girls) as viables times of day. “9:30pm” is for school nights, and I haven’t been subject to a school night for–cough–fourteen years. So. Setting that kind of time for me to actually close my eyes and commence with REM sleep was laughable.

What more? Waking up at “5am.” Other than, again, choosing not to recognizing that as a viable time, I’m convinced that “5am” was reserved for murderers and taxi drivers. (I’m aware that there are plenty of nice, crime-free people who wake up at this time and yikes, even earlier, but in my opinion, those nice, crime-free people are in the minority. The majority of those awake at that time and earlier? Murderers and taxi drivers.) It’s dark enough to commit a crime, and it’s the best time to pick up people who made the wrong drinking choices the night before. As I am neither a murderer (would love to solve one, though) nor a taxi driver, waking up at “5am” has never, ever been a voluntary option. So. Setting that kind of time for me to actually open my eyes and engage in normal, human activities like getting dressed and getting in the car was extremely laughable.

All of that said, the idea that I would then take my exhausted brain/body, tired and trapped within an unholy hour, into a gym to commence with exercise? Yeah, one of the more amusing delusions I’ve ever entertained.

But I did it.

You read that right. Today marks Day Two of my former delusion of grandeur. Personally, I think it’s now a reasonable goal.

For the past two mornings, I have jumped (ok, there was no jumping) out of bed, put on my socks and shoes (I slept in my workout clothes; this is intrinsic because having to wake up and actually put them on would mean getting right back into bed), and headed straight out. Woo hoo!

The first morning was interesting. I got on the elliptical, had the music blasting on the iPod, and subsequently, after 22 minutes, thought I was going to lose my non-breakfast.  I quickly moved to the treadmill and spent the remainder of the hour there, holding on to the bars in case the nausea and dizziness returned. In hindsight, I think not eating before exercising caused the nausea; although I can’t imagine eating that early in morning, something had to be burned off, and having an early dinner the night before didn’t help. As a solution, I bought some Gatorade, aka, liquid carbs. This morning, I had no problem at all. No nausea, no dizziness, no problem.

I’ve heard several variations on how long it takes to form a habit. Everything from five days to 66 days. Whatever the answer is, I certainly hope this new reasonable goal becomes a habit. It’s going to continue to undoubtedly hurt. I’m going to continue to lay in bed, gaze at the ceiling, and commence with all kinds of bargaining (“it’s ok if you miss a day; who will know but you?”) and reasoning (“you need to sleep!”) to get out of it. But I made concessions for that with the goal itself, didn’t I? It’s reasonable. Four days out of the week instead of an unrealistic seven days; going to bed by “9:30pm”, at the latest, to ensure that I least get 7.5 hours of sleep, if not 8, if I can get into bed by “9:00pm.” It can be done. Just needs discipline, consistency, and some form of painful self-pinching to get myself going. And a dose of reality, as well, because I won’t always get it 100% done. But that’s ok.

In the end, I hope for more early mornings. (Pigs just took to flight, dear reader, with the utterance of that statement.)

Onwards!

insert page number.

29 Jul

Most writers have weird rituals and habits. Some won’t discuss a story, not even a little bit, until it’s finished. Some do the exact opposite. Mark Twain apparently wrote lying down. Vladimir Nabokov wrote his stories on 3×5 index cards, clipped them, and stored them in slim boxes. My true love, Mr. Billy Collins, only writes with a fine tip, Black Sharpie pen. Eons ago, I had a beloved, treasured Scripto pen that I called Blackie, which I used to write my stories with (when I used to write in longhand). And, yes, I cried when the ink ran out of Blackie. Anyway, most, if not all, writers have a thing they do.

What thing do I do? When I’m into a story, when I’m falling in love with it, thinking about it, weaving the tale and working on my character studies…I insert page numbers.

Prior to inserting page numbers, the story is a blank canvas to me, a rough piece of clay that I’m working with. But then comes this moment, this feeling, when I know it’s time to make it official. Weird, indescribable, dizzying, my ritual. It means that I’m ready for the progression, to see it through, to work with it until the final page.

That’s happening now with a story that I’m working on. I just inserted page numbers minutes ago…

Onwards! Onwards!

Oh, before I leave, in honor of that thing we all do:

BJ & FE SCOTT

...LIVING THE BEST LIFE EVER!

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